|Erika Turner and Jennifer Melsop of Centreville, Va., embrace each other after they became the first same-sex married couple in Arlington County at the Arlington County Courthouse in Arlington, Va., on Oct. 6, 2014. Alex Wong—Getty Images|
The federal government will recognize same-sex marriage in six new states, Attorney General Eric Holder announced Saturday: Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, North Carolina, West Virginia and Wyoming. Holder’s announcement follows the Supreme Court’s decision this month to decline to hear appeals from several states that sought to maintain their marriage bans.
The government will also extend federal benefits to same-sex couples in those six states.
Holder made a similar announcement about seven other states last week, including Colorado, Indiana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. With Saturday’s announcement, same-sex couples will be recognized by the federal government in 32 states, plus the District of Columbia.
“With each new state where same-sex marriages are legally recognized, our nation moves closer to achieving of full equality for all Americans,” Holder said in a statement Saturday. “We are acting as quickly as possible with agencies throughout the government to ensure that same-sex married couples in these states receive the fullest array of benefits allowable under federal law.”